Let’s figure out what we can put WHISKEY in. Woo!
There are some things I’ve never understood. Including: Why do coffee shops close so early? Kicking back with a friend, a hot beverage and maybe a baked good should not be an exclusively “daytime” activity. Do baristas just get tired early? Are they THAT committed to watching American Idol or whatever? I don’t know.
Not to mention that I personally love a hot caffeinated beverage combined with some sort of spirited liquid. I don’t want to have to engage in Day Drinking (a sport I have much respect but rarely the fortitude for) to do this. Seriously, coffeehouses: all you have to do is stay open later and procure a small bar of delicious boozy additives.
Caffeine and alcohol seems like the perfect balance, but perhaps speedballing ruined the whole concept. Thanks a lot, DRUGS. This is why we can’t have nice things, like the fun kind of NyQuil.
Chai is a coffeehouse favorite of mine when I’m not up for coffee. It’s spiced and fragrant black milky tea, with a light caffeine kick. Making this, and seeing all the different spices and flavors that went into it, made me appreciate just how complex it all is. I was actually surprised by how much of this I already had on hand, and I’m always wondering what to do with the extra ginger I often have after cooking something Thai or Indian. Well, here’s our answer.
Tea bags work fine, though if you do this with loose black tea… Major respect to you.
…Major respect to you, HONEY.
You don’t even have to put bourbon in this. I actually poured the alcohol-free extra into a container to store in my fridge and added espresso for on-the-go mornings (that’s most mornings). Virgin, boozy, hot, cold: it’s all good.
Spiced Chai with Bourbon
(recipe from Saveur)
8 bags black tea, paper and string removed
8 cardamom pods, crushed
8 allspice berries, crushed
8 black peppercorns, crushed
8 whole cloves
3 star anise
2 whole cinnamon sticks
½ whole nutmeg, chopped
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, seeds and pod reserved
6 cups hot water
6 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
⅓ cup honey
1 cup bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark, as recommended)
In a large pot, combine everything but the milk, honey and bourbon and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk in almond milk and honey, return to a simmer, remove from heat, and allow to steep 10-15 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to remove solids.
At this point you can either stir in all of the bourbon, or pour 1/2 shot into each mug or glass before topping with chai. Stir, taste and add more bourbon if desired. I recommend adding the bourbon to each glass individually, so you have the option to keep the tea around for a nonalcoholic beverage.